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Monday, December 5, 2011
Updated: December 7, 3:57 PM ET
Tseng: "I'd just smile and nod"

By Sarah Turcotte
ESPN The Magazine

Yani Tseng
Tseng won 11 titles in 2011, the youngest golfer to win five majors.

This article appears in ESPN The Magazine's Dec. 12, 2011, "Interview Issue."

TURCOTTE: Golf is such a serious game, even Saturday hackers throw clubs. You're always smiling.

TSENG: Well, I threw clubs my first year too. Then a friend told me a couple of years ago, "If you throw the club, the club's just going to be mad at you." That made sense. I don't want the club mad and not playing well. I want to be good friends with the club.

In 2004, when you beat Michelle Wie at the Publinks, you couldn't speak English -- true or false? That's right. I was 15, and all I could say was "hi" and "thank you." People probably thought I understood them when they talked to me because I'd just smile and nod.

Recently, Golf Magazine polled readers on who should be Player of the Year across all tours. You got 96 percent of the vote, but the editors still chose Rory McIlroy. Is that frustrating? I tell myself that if I keep working hard and making history, people will recognize. Am I a little disappointed we don't get much coverage? Yes.

Now that you've made some money, what have you shopped for that's a little crazy? Annika Sorenstam's house. That was big. That was actually before I made any money, so I was looking for a little condo. But her house was available, and as soon as I walked in, she knew I was going to buy it. Even now, I think of it as Annika's house. It brings me lots of luck. Since I bought it, I've won a lot of tournaments. Every time I go into the office and see empty space in that trophy case, I go practice.

How do you want to be remembered one day? Nice people. That's it. Playing bad or playing good, I still want to be a nice person. Even if you throw a club, you can still be a nice person.

Sarah Turcotte is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. She interviewed Tseng on Nov. 11, 2011. Follow The Mag on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.